Stable margins despite sales declines / CEO LeHenaff likely to receive extension
The calm and successful management for which Thierry LeHenaff has been known looks to have earned the manager an additional four years atop French speciality chemicals group Arkema (Colombes; A lot would need to happen before the company’s annual general meeting in May 2024 for shareholders to balk at the supervisory board’s proposed contract extension for the CEO.

Arkema, like most other chemical and plastics companies, was hurt by weak demand and lower prices in the third quarter, but the company said it was able to keep EBITDA margins largely stable in most areas and even increased them for intermediate products and adhesives. This clearly separates the French company from those competitors announcing staff cuts, emergency sales, and the like.

The supplier said group EBITDA fell to EUR 386 mn, a decrease of 22% from the same period last year. However, LeHenaff noted that the large decline was due, among other things, to an exceptionally strong performance from the fluoropolymer PVDF in the third quarter of the previous year. Q3 sales for the group fell at the same rate to EUR 2.3 bn, but the company said it saw the EBITDA margin “holding up well” at 16.6% versus 16.7% a year ago, “reflecting the strength of the group’s positioning and the initiatives taken to adapt to the economic climate.”
Forecast unchanged despite flagging sales, prices
On average across all four areas, Arkema said sales volumes fell 6.6%, while sales prices were more than 10% lower. Despite the declines, management reiterated its outlook for the year of EBITDA of EUR 1.5 bn, a drop of around 13% from the outstanding previous year, when earnings increased by almost half.

The most difficult area in the large and soon lone speciality materials business was coatings, where results reportedly fell 42% on almost a third less sales. Here, the price decline – partly due to a weak automobile market – played a greater role at minus 18.4%. Sales volume also fell at an above-average rate of 9.5%.
15.11.2023 [253995-0]
Published on 15.11.2023
Arkema: Stabile Margen trotz Umsatzrückgängen in allen BereichenGerman version of this article...

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